History does have a tendency to repeat itself, what was once old is new again. Leggings, velour, disco – it’s all been around before and has come back with a vengeance at some point or another. Hell, even ancients like Duke Nukem are attempting to become relevant again, so why not everyone’s favorite trash talking game show? Developer Jellyvision has teamed up with THQ to publish a brand new You Don’t Know Jack for the modern audience, complete with running commentary and put downs courtesy of fan favorite host, Cookie Masterson.
The layout of the game really could not be any simpler, seeing no need for some screwy storyline or fancy graphics, YDKJ puts all of the effort into what made the game entertaining in the past. That being, off the wall questions, topical comments and an outstanding sense of fun in each fast paced game you play. The game includes 73 episodes on the game disc, each of these a unique experience unto itself and each lasting roughly 10-15 minutes depending on the number of players. Whether you gather three friends to join you locally on your couch or you venture online in either an Xbox Party game (taking advantage of the party feature) or a random grouping of people you’re sure to have some fun. I mean, where else would you have a question which asks how Vin Diesel could become Vin Unleaded – or a series of questions which has to discriminate between Pope titles and a Britney Spears song?
Fan favorite question styles are here as well. DisOrDat is featured, and for local play one player is selected as the contestant for that question while the others can chime in with their answers, and if they choose their answer and are correct where the chosen one is incorrect, they steal the points from that particular question. Other styles of questions come into play as well, I have so far seen a question from the Nocturnal Admissions category reenact a movie using kittens, a famous authors garbage is sorted through, and the always entertaining Fortune Cookie Readings are here too. The fan favorite Jack Attack is present within each episode as the final round, and here is where some major points can be won or lost by each player in the match. It’s not uncommon for someone to vault from last place to first thanks to this round alone. Each episode also has a sponsor for the Best Incorrect Answer in each game, finding this will unlock a prize, such as an infant waterbed, and will earn the player double the cash that they would’ve received had they actually answered a question correctly. And as always, the lovely Screw Your Neighbor is here – which lets you put a friend on the spot for a question to which you think they won’t know the answer. The time limit drops to five seconds for them to answer; if they get it right major points are scored and you lose points. If they get it wrong however, you will get a shot at answering with the wrong answer being eliminated.
Due to the episodic format, playing through an episode eliminates the fun from playing that episode again in the future. There were times when I was playing online only to be up against players who’d obviously played an episode already because they were chiming in with correct answers within milliseconds of the question being asked. This is somewhat frustrating, but thankfully online play can be set to auto-select an episode which I can only assume will compare players and choose something that no one has played yet, the instance I refer to was me manually selecting an episode I had yet to play – so I would have been better off letting the computer select a new one.
Even with the low price, no one should feel like the game isn’t worth it. It oozes charm and off color sarcasm that’s sure to catch even the most jaded players off hand once in a while. With 73 on disc episodes that are at least 15 hours worth of entertainment that seems worth the price alone, but new Jack Packs will be available on the PSN and Xbox Marketplace for $5 and 400 points respectively which are supposed to pack another 10 episodes in per pack. So gather up some friends, kick back on the couch gab your controllers and see who can come out on top.
Side Note: It’s worth mentioning that owners of the Scene It controller set can use them with You Don’t Know Jack. Sorry, I did not have the PS3 copy of the game to test out the Buzz controllers.
- It would be hard to not recommend this title to anyone who enjoys trivia, unless of course you have a sensitive ego which needs to be coddled when you get a question wrong.
Platform reviewed: Xbox 360
— Jeff Paramchuk